Some mosquito species in Massachusetts are capable of transmitting several diseases to humans. One of the most devastating mosquito-borne diseases transmitted in the United States is known as “eastern equine encephalitis.” This disease is rarely contracted by residents of Massachusetts, that is until this summer anyway. According to Dr. Catherine Brown with the ‎Massachusetts Department of Public Health, since 2012, EEE has infected very few people in the northeast US, but this year that changed, as the Department of Public Health has announced that 22 communities in Massachusetts are seeing larger populations of mosquitoes carrying EEE. In order to prevent residents from contracting this potentially deadly mosquito-borne disease, public health employees will be conducting aerial insecticide spraying operations in southeastern Massachusetts.

Massachusetts public health officials do not hope to wipe out mosquito populations in the southeast, but aerial spraying during the nighttime hours will greatly decrease the number of EEE-infected mosquitoes in the region. Aerial spraying of insecticides is the only effective method of substantially reducing mosquito populations in large areas, and this spraying will be conducted at night when bees are safe within their hives. One Massachusetts resident, Kimberly King, is a strong advocate of aerial spraying, and she has been spreading awareness about its benefits for years. Unfortunately, King’s daughter, Areanna, died from EEE back in 2005, which prompted King to champion aerial spraying programs.

In order to protect residents of southeast Massachusetts from bites inflicted by EEE-carrying mosquitoes, a customized plane releases minimal amounts of insecticide 300 feet above the ground. The aerial spraying will be conducted by the The Bristol County Mosquito Control Program, and the plane will spray an insecticide called Duet HD Dual Action Adulticide over ponds, brush and areas where natural sources of standing water is abundant, as mosquitoes breed in these locations. This program is not medically harmful to humans and will likely save lives.

Do you make an effort to minimize standing water sources on your property?